4 Common Regulatory Challenges in Clinical Trials Vendor Management and Oversight

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Published: 2023/10/18 Last updated: 2023/10/31 By: Tom Lazenby

Clinical trials, come with their own unique set of regulatory challenges. This is a technical challenge when navigating vendor management and oversight. As with many challenges with moving parts, the devil is often in the details.

In this blog post we’ll hit on four of these challenges and offer insight into how clinical quality, clinical operations, and clinical trial sponsors can navigate the maze.

1. Knowledge of Requirements:

When it comes to Clinical Trials Vendor Management, knowledge is undoubtedly power. This starts with understanding the various regulations that govern the sector. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21 issued by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, and the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004 as well as the Clinical Trials Regulation (EU) 536/2014 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in the EU, are vital pieces of legislation that anyone in the clinical trial space needs to be familiar with.

One main challenge here is keeping up-to-date with the requirements of each piece of legislation, especially if you operate in multiple regions. The MHRA in the UK, for instance, has its guidelines that sometimes differ from the FDA.

It’s essential to have a Quality Management System in place to ensure that these regulations are adhered to, and also to ensure that any third-party vendors are compliant.

2. Demonstration of Oversight:

Sponsor Oversight is crucial. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has placed great emphasis on sponsors to demonstrate oversight throughout the clinical trial process. This means that as a sponsor, you can’t simply select a vendor and let them operate independently.

Regular Performance Monitoring, Auditing, and ongoing Risk Assessment are all critical processes that sponsors must be actively involved in.

Moreover, a significant challenge comes in when sponsors have to deal with Third Party Management. It’s not just about ensuring that your chosen vendor is compliant, but also any other vendors they might choose to subcontract to.

Contracts and Contract Management play a pivotal role here, ensuring that all parties involved understand their responsibilities.

3. Managing Compliance of Vendors:

Here’s where things get even trickier. Once you’ve selected a vendor based on their qualifications and certifications, the job isn’t over. Performance Monitoring, Training, Quality Control, and Quality Assurance are all ongoing processes that need to be carried out to ensure GCP Compliance.

The use of a centralized platform like Mayet can make a world of difference here. Real-time tracking ensures that any issues are flagged immediately. Regular Reporting and Record Keeping also ensure that sponsors have all the information they need at their fingertips, ready for any potential Regulatory Inspection.

4. Knowing When Your Vendor Uses Other Vendors:

Sometimes, your chosen vendor might outsource a part of their task to another vendor. This poses an added layer of complexity for sponsors, especially when it comes to ensuring compliance.

It’s essential to ensure that contracts are clear on the use of sub-vendors and that there’s a robust system in place for Quality Assurance and oversight of these sub-vendors.

Understanding and keeping track of the complex web of relationships in the clinical trials industry is crucial. It requires a robust system of Selection and Qualification, as well as regular audits to ensure that every vendor (and their vendors!) adhere to the high standards set by regulatory bodies.


In the evolving landscape of clinical trials, sponsors must remain vigilant, proactive, and well-informed. Navigating the maze of regulations, from FDA to EMA, and ensuring that every vendor (and sub-vendor) is compliant is no small task. But with the right tools, such as Mayet’s platform, sponsors can streamline their processes, ensure compliance, and focus on the most crucial aspect – the advancement of medical science.

If you’re in Clinical Quality or Clinical Operations, understanding these challenges is the first step. Collaborative efforts, coupled with the right technological tools, can ensure that the journey of drug development, from conception to market, is as smooth, efficient, and compliant as possible.

Tom Lazenby

Tom is the Founder and CEO of Mayet. Using his experience in streamlining operations and driving innovation in clinical research, Tom is dedicated to enhancing the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and risk mitigation strategies for vendor management and oversight.

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